Working Out When You Are Short on Time and Money

Don’t like or can’t afford the gym? Or maybe none near where you live? Not to worry, working out from home is a great way for you to save both time and money. Besides, you don’t need the huge fancy machinery you find in gyms, nor do you need a whole lot of space to be fit. There is a variety of simple and budget-friendly equipment out there. Plus, most won’t clutter your space and can be easily put away in a drawer. Simple equipment like the ones I mention below  will help you bring your workouts to the next level by pushing your limits and making your workouts that much more challenging. 


  1. Bodyweight – free ♥
  2. Weighted/Speed Jump Rope – from 5.oo to 20.00$
  3. Dumbbells – starting at around 10$ (the heavier the weight, the higher the price)
  4. Ball – from 10.00 to 20.00 $ (depends on the brand)
  5. Old Towel or Rag – less than 5.00$ (“free” if found in the house)
  6. Resistance Bands – from 15.00 to 20.00$ (they come in sets)
  7. Ankle Weights – starting at around 15.00$ (for 2LB) N.B. I’d say these are the most expensive in the list, so they are not the first thing I would buy. 
  8. Kettle Bells or Plates – starting at 15.00$ (again, depends on the weight)


High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.): this is my go-to cardio workout. The person that got me addicted to these workouts is online trainer Zuzka Light on YouTube.  Make sure to check out her videos. There are so many variations for beginners and a wide variety of focus workouts (legs, glutes, arms, back, etc.).

The point of HIIT workouts is to make you work hard, in little time – 10-, 12-, 20-minute workouts.

  1. You’re doing cardio without thinking about doing cardio
  2. You are growing lean muscle mass, whether by using your own bodyweight or weights
  3. These workouts can easily be done at home
  4. Easily fit in in a busy schedule (full-time students, full-time workers, parents, etc.)
  5. Even better, working out 3-4 times a week is enough to see results when using high intensity workouts. 
  6. Using intervals (ex.: 50 seconds active – 10-second rest) prevents you from getting bored because (1) you don’t do the exercise for too long and (2) you move on to the next exercise in no time.


Pro Tip 

When I first began working out, I didn’t trust myself to continue for very long. I figured it was just a phase: something that I would start and give up on after a few weeks (or days). Hence, I told myself that I would first begin working out with only my body weight. I didn’t buy any fancy gym clothes either (not yet anyways)! And so the journey began… Without realizing it, a month had passed and I was still into it. That is when I finally went out to buy a jump rope, a timer (you can also use an online timer) and a pair of 5LB dumbbells.

As the months past, I added to my repertoire of equipment (i.e. resistance bands and ankle weights). Lucky for me, my brother got into fitness as well and bought higher weight dumbbells and a couple of plates. It goes without saying that I was lucky and saved a few bucks. So I would definitely suggest using your siblings if you have any to save some money… hehe. 

As for gym attire, I do believe that owning nice pieces of activewear can motivate you to workout, but don’t let it be the first thing on your list. Especially if you are new to this and have no idea on whether or not you will stick to it. Make it a reward instead: every month or milestone, you get to do some shopping. Yay!

In my opinion, getting yourself new equipment and/or clothes can help you “reset” your motivation and make you excited to work out (see also this post). 

Change of scenery

If you don’t want to get bored of your workout routine, or if you enjoy trying out new things, or simply have others hobbies, consider looking for free classes and promotions. There is so much to choose from, whether it is a Zumba class, Yoga, martial arts, kickboxing, etc. Most places offer the first class for free, and might have promotions during the week (cheaper fee on Wednesdays for example). 

When the weather is nice (even in winter!!), consider working out at a nearby park or going for a run. If you a have a backyard or a patio, and don’t really want to workout in public, then these are good places for you to train when you need a breath of fresh air!  

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